Women’s rights, climate change, the current cry for war against Iran, and the economy, they’re all hung up in the same place:the GOP ideology and their false sword and shield of Christianity. I don’t see how “love thy neighbor,” the only commandment Jesus Christ ever gave, could be honestly interpreted to mean kick thy mother in the ovaries, stab mine earth with oil drills, and bloody my holy name with the sin of war. It seems to me that doing these things in His name is the ultimate in wickedness.
As a result of this warping of religion, solutions to the issues that plague us all and the common sense legislation that could easily lead to better lives for many of us, is being ignored. I don’t understand why we are so dead set on cutting off our nose to spite our face. I read the blogs, the news, the statistics, the studies. I lay awake at night puzzling away at the patterns, and the inconsistencies. I keep coming back to a single shoe string holding this mess together, the GOP’s God.
As a full-fledged, card-carrying, God-loving woman. I am pissed. I am absolutely at my wit’s end at the GOP for using their interpretation of God as a reason to ignore what is needed for this nation. I am furious at what they have smacked the label of God onto–this idea that “God hates” is of supreme insult to me. How dare they commandeer Him that way? I mean, is it not truly narcissistic and blasphemous to dirty the idea of God with their agenda?
Instead of using Him as a reason to exclude climate science from school, or forbid insurance companies from covering birth control, they ought to use God as a reason to forgive that which they don’t agree with or understand. They ought to use science, politics, and reason to further the liberty of those they claim to want to represent. It is obvious from the political discourse on gay marriage, contraception, climate change, war and the economy going on all over the nation that misusing God in politics is an epidemic.
In thinking about this issue, I am reminded of a passage from “The Audacity of Hope” that shows that not only is Barrack Obama a stellar Christian, he’s the type of God-loving man we want representing us in decisions that go beyond faith:
“…. When science teachers insist on keeping creationism or intelligent design out of their classrooms, they are not asserting that scientific knowledge is superior to religious insight. They are simply insisting that each path to knowledge involves different rules and that those rules are not interchangeable…
Politics, like science, depends on our ability to persuade each other of common aims based on a common reality. Moreover, politics (unlike science) involves compromise, the art of the possible. At some fundamental level, religion does not allow for compromise. It insists on the impossible. If God has spoken, the followers are expected to live up to God’s edicts, regardless of the consequences. To base one’s life on such uncompromising commitments may be sublime; to base our policy making on such commitments would be a dangerous thing.
The story of Abraham and Isaac offers a simply but powerful example. According to the Bible, Abraham is ordered by God to offer up his “only son, Isaac, whom you love,” as a burnt offering. Without argument Abraham takes Isaac to the mountaintop, binds him to and altar, and raises his knife, prepared to act as God has commanded.
Of course, we know the happy ending – God sends down an angel to intercede at the very last minute. Abraham has passed God’s test of devotion. He becomes a model of fidelity to God, and his great faith is rewarded through future generations. And yet it is fair to say that if any of us saw a twenty-first century Abraham raising the knife on the roof of his apartment building, we would call the police; we would wrestle him down; even if we saw him lower the knife at that last minute. We would expect the Department of Children and Family Services to take Isaac away and charge Abraham with child abuse. We would do so because God doesn’t reveal Himself or His angels to all of us in a single moment. We do not hear what Abraham hears, do not see what Abraham sees, true as those experiences may be. So the best we can do is act in accordance with those things that are possible for all of us to know, understanding that a part of what we know to be true – as individuals or communities of faith - will be true for us alone.”
With this fine explanation in mind, it’s time to get serious folks. let us all take our faith and, with love, set it aside for one moment. Think about all the things that we can understand without it. Appreciate all the places we can go together. Even if you are Abraham, or Rick Santorum or the Pope himself… and even if you really do believe in every ounce of your heart that you know God, and your faith is right, then you have still got to know that your evidence for your faith is no stronger than my evidence is for my faith. This roadblock between us is not a good enough reason to ignore science or math, or war or peace, or poverty or prosperity.
This issue of faith, is holding us up.
It is separating us from the salvation that most of us are seeking through our faith. No matter your religion, or lack thereof, I think we can all find common ground. I think that we can all find reasons and solutions that are tangible and measurable in the here and now that make sense. I think that for whatever reason, maybe even faith, most people want to help each other. We want to leave behind a livable planet and a working economy and a legacy of peace. It seems that if we can find ways to do that, even if it means making political and religious compromise, maybe it’ll take us all a little bit closer to God.
The fact is, that whether there is really a need for spiritual salvation or not is debatable. What is not debatable is the damage that spiritual debate is doing to our future as a society, as a nation, and as a planet. Look around you. We are taking away the rights of women. We are throwing around callous words that could bring our nation to war for the fourth time in less than 15 years. We are pumping carbon dioxide into our atmosphere that screws with our climate, while throwing our hands in the air in despair at tornadoes, hurricanes, snowmageddons, floods and droughts. We wonder at people without jobs and our crumbling infrastructure, while we cry that creating new energy sources and building new bridges will take work and money. This doesn’t make sense. We have the answers to these problems. We have birth control. We have peace. We have alternative energy sources. We have work. We have answers. Using God as a false shield, as an excuse to do nothing in the face of these catastrophes is the ultimate in sin. I don’t care what holy book you read, I don’t care if you believe the only sin that exists is sin against humanity, or nature. No matter how you frame this, it is wrong. Using God like this has got to stop, right here, right now.
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